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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Out of the Mouths, Politics 2016 Edition (and a Cancer™ Update)

So last night, Lizzy and I finished The Silver Chair, which was always my favorite of the Narnia books. It's a more straightforward Hero's Quest story than many of the others.

At the very end of the story, as Eustace and Jill come back to their school, Experiment House, in our world, the Headmistress of the school spots Aslan ("a Lion the size of a small elephant") and the broken wall through which they went to Narnia and people with swords and the like.

She freaks out and calls the police, and when they investigate everything looks normal, but there's an inquiry into the running of the school and the Head gets fired. I can't find the exact quote about this, but it runs something like, "And the Head's friends found out she was no good as a Head and made her an Inspector who could interfere with other Heads. And then they found she was no good at that, either, so they sent her to Parliament, where she could be with the others like her."

And then Lizzy, all eight years of her, asked, "What's a Parliament? Is it like an insane asylum?"

After I stopped laughing, I told her that Parliament in England is similar to the Senate and the House of Representatives in the US; they help run the government.

So, really? Very little difference.

I was reminded of this again today, because, well, I'm feeling political, and my facebook and G+ streams are full of memes from both sides. This crop of candidates is too damn scary to ignore and hope it goes away.

So let me break it down, because if my second-grader can grok it, so can anyone else.

  1. Atheists are not out to get you; most of them don't care what you do as long as you don't try to make everyone do it.
  2. Nor are Muslims; very, very few are actually part of terrorist groups, and they just want to be treated like everyone else.
  3. Nor are gay people. There is no over-arching gay agenda; they just want to be treated like everyone else (see a pattern here?).
  4. Dark-skinned people - even those wearing hoodies - are very seldom bad guys. They just want to be treated like... say it with me... everybody else.
  5. Conversely, the vast majority of police officers are not corrupt child-killers.
  6. Pro-choice people are not out to get abortions at the drop of a hat; it's a last resort when all else has failed..
  7. Most Christians are decent human beings: not everyone is Westboro Baptist.
  8. Socialism does not equal free hand-outs.
  9. People on government assistance are nowhere near the biggest waste of our tax dollars.
  10. Marijuana - at least in adults - causes considerably less harm than alcohol.
  11. Wicca does not equal Satanism.
  12. It's even possible that not all politicians are not self-serving narcissists; there have to be a few.
That last is a little bit tongue in cheek, but not totally.

And of course there are outliers in all of these categories. There are the ISILs and the Westboro Baptists and the occasional welfare scammer. I'm sure that out there somewhere there is a woman who does use abortion as a form of birth control (or is forced to do so by her pimp, maybe) and there is probably a idiot smoking weed while driving a motorcycle (without a helmet) and texting while he does it.

Dude, #itcanwait

But these people are the few, the far-between.

And the very, very LOUD.

Which is why they get the press.

So stop it. 

Be nice to people. All people. It's really not that hard.


For those of you on tenterhooks after my last post, wherein Laston started a new chemo cocktail?

Fear not. He's doing really well on it; his stomach is less upset, his nose is not running, his eyes are not twitching, and he has some actual energy.

Me? I have a Weight Watchers app, and a Fitbit synced to it, and a gazillion fresh fruits and veggies available. And because I am as big as I am, I have a lot of SmartPoints™ to work with in a day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Spring Cleaning

And yes, this is a Cancer Post™.

Because the old chemo cocktail (FOLFORI, pronounced Full Fury, which sounds like a drag racing movie) isn't working any more; in fact, the liver masses are growing again. So they put Laston on FOLFOX (pronounced Full Fox, which doesn't sound nearly as fierce, but also does not bring to mind moody teenagers with guyliner and anger issues and fast cars).

It's a stronger weedkiller for our dandelion patch.

So far, Laston feels better on the FOLFOX than he ever did on the FOLFORI (no runny nose! No twitchy eyelids! Less nausea!), but the chemotherapy-infusion-massive-benadryl-dose isn't out of his system yet. That's why they thought it was a good idea for me to stay home with him this afternoon rather than going back to work; if he has a delayed allergic reaction they want another adult nearby, to administer benadryl and call 911. Both the kids living here can actually do those things, but they shouldn't have to, so we're playing it safe. That's what FMLA is for.

And the Pregnant Lady Parallels continue: in addition to the fatigue, irritability, nausea, frequent bathroom breaks, and food cravings, they also want him to get more folate (folic acid; remember needing extra, ladies, when pregnant and/or nursing?) in his diet.

They suggest Cream o' Wheat.


Also in this Spring Cleaning Post, in addition to cleaning the dandelions out of Laston's personal yard, we're going to try to clean a rather large number of pounds out of my body. Screw the expense; I'm going back on Weight Watchers.

I've always done better on WW than on any other "diet plan" or "lifestyle choice," such as Sparkpeople (they're great but online only) or even Weight Watchers Online (same deal).

Weight loss seems to be the one thing for which I require my own cheering section, in person, and with lots of back pats and kudos. Everything else I do just fine in an online space, from personal stories to a bachelor of science degree. But for this, I need more support than my family can give me.

And I'm tired of feeling like crap, and tired of having month-long bouts of bronchitis (weight exacerbates asthma, which in turn exacerbates illness).

We may not be able to do anything specific about Laston's health besides what we're already doing, but we can about mine.

So there, dammit.

I'll find the fifty bucks a month somewhere, because our insurance, while lovely for things like chemotherapy and well child checks and even chiropractic and aromatherapy, does not pay for "weight management."

Monday, March 7, 2016

Disease of the Month

And I do mean of the month.

And I'm not talking about cancer; this is Not a Cancer™ post.

I have had bronchitis (well, other viruses that have morphed excitingly into bronchitis) for a month. Twenty-nine days, to be exact, which is a month, at least this year.

That's ridiculous.

But February 10th I went in for what turned out to be "a flu-like virus" (which means that it's not the flu but it mimics the flu. 'kay).

On the 21st I ended up in the E.R. with a complication of said virus (or maybe a new one; there's no test) because neither the urgent care clinic nor my own doctor's office is open at 7AM on a Sunday.

They tested everydamnthing, because 40-something obese woman walks in and says the dreaded phrase, "shortness of breath." You will all be glad to know that at that time, it was still just viral bronchitis. See? Treat the symptoms, here's a refill for your inhaler.

Last Friday (March 4th) I still had major coughing and shortness of breath. Back into my own doc. She looks at me and shakes her head and says, "I know you hate it, but it's Prednisone time. Breathing trumps sleeping." (And apparently also the munchies, hot flashes, and the shudder I get here lately when I hear the word "trump.") Also she gave me a capsule-based cough suppressant, which makes me dizzy. Hooray.

Today (March 7th) I had a heckuva flare-up at work. Can't breathe, overuse of inhaler, can't stop coughing. Thank goodness for good medical insurance and a decent time-off policy (and that Laston's used up our deductible already), because off I go again.

The urgent care doc takes one look at me, one look at my chart and says that given it's been a month, if I don't have something bacterial going on in there yet, I will soon. Take Zithromax, and for the love of all you hold holy, take some codeine, at least at bedtime. You're already sleeping lightly from the Prednisone, you need your rest, take the dang cough syrup.

But why? I've had asthma for a couple of decades, we've had wet winters (even for Seattle) before, I get bronchitis on average once a year. It never lasts a month.

Stress, perchance?

My mom thinks so, doncha, Mom? The doctors think so; stress wears you down and makes you more susceptible, both to disease and to complications. Heck, the QA manager at my work has been gently bullying me into taking some time to just de-stress!

Maybe they have a point.

So, aside from cookie sales tonight (I can lean on things, and there's little walking around involved; the kids do most of the work and I'm there in a supervisory capacity), I'm just... done for the day.

Please come buy cookies at the Thrasher's Corner Safeway (south door) between 6-8 tonight. The Girl Scouts of Western Washington thank you.

And it'll make it worth my going back out.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Two Years Running

Normally we go to Norwescon every year for our anniversary (as you know if you read my blog on a regular basis). We missed last year due to cash flow issues, and this year, well...

...those issues are still there, but more to the point, Norwescon happens on a Chemo Week (so yes, this is a Cancer Post™). There is little chance that Laston will be up for conning on the Friday or Saturday of that week, even if we did have the cash to go and stay in the hotel and all. Which we don't, not for the whole shebang including the hotel room. And there is NO way he'd be up for day trips to the con including the drives up and down.

This is depressing to both of us.

And we've already seen the movies we want to see, dang it.

Maybe we'll just farm the kids out to their other respective parents (as already planned because it's the older two's weekend with Other Parents, and Grandma MAY take Miz Liz if it's a Norwescon weekend anyway (they do Easter-y things like dyeing eggs),) and order in all those spicy and nut-filled things the kids can't handle.

Just to make life more entertaining, I DO work on Easter Sunday. I don't think we get paid extra either, because it's not a national holiday. Phht.

Anyway, yes, this post is just a complaint between calls at work.